With yesterday’s season finale of Supergirl, we’ve come to the end of another wave of DC/CW superhero goodness. We’ve had highs and lows, and surprises and shocks, but it’s officially time to cast our eyes to the next seasons of the frankly ludicrous number of DC superhero shows on the CW. This is what we want from Kara, Barry, Jefferson, and the rest of the gang when they return this fall.
- Not just one big bad. Season four finally gave us a big bad that wasn’t a speedster in the form of the Thinker, but it also made it clear that the show’s capability to keep a season-long rival for Team Flash has buckled at this point. The Flash is at its worst when it’s just going through the motions of its formula, so why not shake it up a bit? Have a few arcs over the course of one season, with multiple villains. They don’t even have to be separate, they could be related in some way to keep the “link” of a season-long arc, but after season four course-corrected so much of what the show was doing wrong, this is one big thing still left to tweak.
- A strong mentorship role between Barry and Ralph. Although Flash has had a bit of a problem ballooning the number of superpowered characters in its cast, one of the best things about season four was introducing Ralph Dibney, the Elongated Man, and making him a selfish screwball who needs to learn how to be a hero from Mr. Former Selfish Screwball himself, Barry Allen. That mentor/mentee relationship was very promising, even if it got undercut by having Ralph be “killed” at the Thinker’s hand for a bunch of episodes in the back half of the season. Focusing on Barry and Ralph’s journey together in the next season would provide great substance for both of their arcs.
- A permanent new Wells. We’re heading into a fifth year of Flash now, I think we can drop the “tradition” of finding a new version of Wells for Tom Cavanagh to play every season. It just means Wells’ presence in the show or his arc as a character never really gets to persist, as it’s always being softly reset with each quirky new version. Find a new Wells, and stick with him for a bit.
- For the love of God, no more time travel. The Flash has a bad history with time travel, in that its presence made season three one of the most miserable seasons of superhero TV around. So introducing Barry and Iris’ speedster kid from the future, Nora Allen, in season four is setting off some alarm bells that the series could be back on its time-bending bullshit. Bringing Nora into the show is an interesting move, but you can do things with that without descending into the same timey-wimey quagmire that undid the show in the past.
- A threat that isn’t a skeleton from Oliver’s gigantic closet of skeletons. Just as The Flash’s formula has gotten old, so has Arrow’s, with the constant dredging up of figures connected to Oliver’s pre-Green Arrow past coming back to haunt him. It’s time to move on, and actually manufacture new threats that don’t lean on the fact they’ve got old beef with Oliver Queen to create drama.
- No more Team Arrow drama. Season six had a lot of lows, but one of its lowest points has been the constant bickering and infighting between the supporting cast. While at first it might have been a good idea to make the suddenly-vastly-expanded Team Arrow a bit more manageable, it just led to drama for the sake of it rather than an actually interesting conflict. Have these heroes working together like they should, or just don’t have them on the show at all.
- Have Oliver take on the social justice issues the comic book Green Arrow does. The Oliver Queen of the CW and the Oliver Queen of DC Comics are two very different people, but one of our biggest regrets of that difference is that the Oliver of TV just doesn’t really have the same moral bite that his firebrand comics counterpart does. Social justice issues have been a major part of Ollie’s comic adventures for decades, and it makes sense for a “street-level” hero to be more invested in issues like that rather than just superhero nonsense. Black Lightning proved that these shows can tackle politics and social issues in a deft manner while still being a fun show about costumed heroes punching people—maybe the oldest DC/CW show should take a hint from its youngest sibling.
- The show has to move on from Mon-El for real. Thankfully the season three finale really put a line through Kara and Mon-El’s chances for a rekindled romance, and hopefully he’s going to stay stuck in the future for a good while yet—finally giving Kara the chance to properly, truly move on. Happily, actor Chris Wood has officially left the show, so it looks like Mon-El is gone for real, but let’s pray Kara doesn’t spend the next season pining over him again. A new love interest would be fine, but she should focus on herself, and the show should too.
- More Supergirl and Guardian working together. What’s this show called again? Because it ain’t James Olson gets to be Discount Batman. The show’s arc with James’ dabbling in vigilante crime has been pretty weak from the get-go, but it took a big turn with James deciding to go public with his secret identity. Supergirl should use that to maybe downplay how much time it devotes to Guardian, and just have him be a supporting player to Kara’s adventures. Having them work together a bit more, instead of separated heroes, would turn them into a quasi-sorta take on the Superman/Batman partnership.
- Some threats that don’t play off Krypton’s destruction. Yes, Kara is the last daughter of Krypton (if you ignore the buttloads of Kryptonians that have survived its destruction), but it would be really nice to go a season where the threat Kara faces has nothing to do with her former homeworld. There are a bunch of ways to make a villain interesting beyond “Oh no, they’re just as powerful as Supergirl!!!” After Reign, it’s a trope that can be laid to rest for a little bit.
- Make Winn’s big move actually matter. Last night’s finale also introduced a big sea change for Winn, one that’s actually leading to Jeremy Jordan stepping down from series regular to a recurring star for the next season. But considering the show has barely known what to do with Winn other than plonk him in front of a computer at the DEO, hopefully bringing him into the fold of the Legion of Superheroes’ quest end up giving the character some real development those times when he returns.
- Bring back Cat Grant. Just consider this one a blanket demand for Supergirl going forward. We know, we know, it’s hard to get Calista Flockhart up to Vancouver for filming, but it was so much fun to have her back in season two, even for a little bit.
- All the weird demonic madness that Constantine should bring with him. Constantine’s arrival as a full-time member of the Legends should bring a relatively untouched realm of supernatural tomfoolery for the Legends to deal with beyond their usual time-hopping fun. And while Constantine’s own show and his prior CW appearances have used his world of demons and magic to bring a darker tone, Legends is at its best when it just has fun—and there’s a lot of fun to be had with weird demons and weirder magic.
- More time with Mick, Nate, and Zari. Even as Legends’ cast has shuffled about, and contracted and expanded over its first two seasons, it’s led to some characters being left on the wayside a bit recently. Mick, despite being a founding member of the team, barely seems to get anything to do, while Nate has primarily been shown only through his relationship with Amaya. And Zari, despite being a new addition to the team last season, still feels unused. Changing rosters regularly might be something the CW wants to be a Legends thing, but if these characters are sticking around, it would be nice to give them some attention.
- A villain that doesn’t have connections to the wider DC/CW-verse. Damian Darhk ultimately ended up being a better Legends villain than he was an Arrow one, and the Legion of Doom was a superbly silly mash-up of familiar foes in season two. But while it’s nice to see these threats re-emerge for the Legends to take on, it would also be nice to take a break from that and give the team a foe that neither they or we as the audience are familiar with. Sure, Vandal Savage didn’t work out well in season one, but there’s no harm in trying something new again, is there?
- Keep it simple. As each other DC/CW show has progressed, their casts of superheroic characters have ballooned; what were once one-hero shows now feel like superhero ensembles. One of Black Lightning’s greatest strengths is its focus on Jefferson’s journey as Black Lightning, and when it did expand its roster of supers, it did so by keeping it personal, adding his daughters Anissa and Jennifer to the powered line-up while keeping it as a family affair. While it’s an exciting rush to see more and more DC characters come to TV, Black Lightning is better served keeping its focus on the Pierces for now.
- Keep it short. Black Lightning’s 13-episode season gave us a tight series of stories, one that rarely if ever devolved into pointless dramatic tangents or filler in the ways some of the other DC/CW shows can, with seasons that are nearly twice as long. The shortened season led to the show having a, for want of a better word, lightning focus on Jefferson’s return to crimefighting and setting up his battles to come, and it kept things interesting throughout the season’s progression.
- Honestly, basically just keep doing what it’s doing. Black Lightning’s debut season was perhaps the strongest start for any of these shows. It doesn’t really need to change up what’s working so well just yet. If we can get another season that balances great superheroics with the social issues Black Lightning addressed so well, we’re in for a hell of a sophomore season.
There’s more DC/CW goodness out there now than there ever has been before, and outside of some missteps, on the whole the last round of series were pretty solid. There’s a bright (and Batwoman-filled!) future ahead for these series, one that can only get brighter if a few of these suggestions get picked up. What do you want from Supergirl, Flash, Arrow, and more this fall? Let us know in the comments.